Dateline: Redwood City, California (In the Business Section of the 23 February 2013 Economist)!

The article is called “The Price of Reputation.”  It’s about a Redwood City-based company called Reputation.com which “has 1.6m customers.  For $99 a year or more they get a basic ‘reputation starter’ package, which monitors when they are mentioned online and alerts them if anything sensitive comes up, such as ‘your real age, name, address, mugshots, legal disputes or marital problems.’  For $5,000 a year, the firm will ‘combat misleading or inaccurate links from your top search results’ (most people do not look at results much below the top page or two).”

Reputation’s founder, Michael Fertik, is 34 years old (Crikey!).  His goal is “to launch a data vault –  like a bank vault containing all the data that constitute a person’s reputation.”  According to Fertik, the current internet “business model” is one where “giant firms give customers something free, collect data on them without their knowledge and sell it to third parties to do with whatever they like.”  A firm like Reputation.com would let “the consumer . . .  decide if they want to sell information about themselves to companies that want to get to know them.”

The article ends with the characteristic British tongue-in-cheek utterance:  Reputation.com “has the advantage of that most valuable thing, which it must protect at all costs:  a good reputation.”

OK, so how does this square with Law # 41 of Robert Greene’s The 48 Laws of Power?

Establish your own name and identity by changing course.  Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

In self’s humble opinion, you can only slay the overbearing father once.  Because after that, there will be no more overbearing fathers (to slay).  Naturally.  And, what then?  Your reputation is trash, you’ve bitten the dust, you’ve revealed your moral turpitude, you’ve — Self, cut it out!  Right this minute!  Whence all this negativity?  You ought to enroll in a course about letting the sunshine into your life!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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